Exploring Changes in Science Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Culturally Diverse Students During an Equity-Focused Course

Preethi Titu, Elizabeth A. Ring-Whalen, Julie C. Brown, Gillian H. Roehrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent decades, schools in most Western countries, including the United States, have become increasingly culturally diverse. As global migration rises, cultural diversity in schools will continue to grow. Though an expansive research base has shown that teacher attitudes play an important role in student performance, comparatively little is known about science teachers’ attitudes toward cultural diversity or teaching culturally diverse students. The purpose of this study was to explore how the attitudes of beginning secondary science teachers toward teaching culturally diverse students were influenced by a four-week course focused on equitable science teaching. We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants (n=8) at two time points: once during the first week of the course and once during the last week. Both interviews followed an attitude-eliciting, card-sort activity completed by teachers in small groups. Qualitative analysis of the data indicated that, following their participation in the course, science teachers felt more prepared to work with their culturally diverse students; posited that authority shifting in the classroom could benefit student learning; and openly acknowledged that cultural, ethnic, and racial differences influence the classroom environment. These findings suggest that engaging beginning science teachers in opportunities to be introduced to, reflect upon, and consider practical applications of culturally responsive teaching may positively impact their attitudes and beliefs about teaching culturally diverse students and about the students themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-396
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Science Teacher Education
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 4 2018

Keywords

  • culturally diverse students
  • preparing culturally responsive teachers
  • science teacher attitudes

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